The sons of a sister belong to her brother;
and he often sells his nephews to pay his debts. By this and other
unnatural customs, more than by war, is the slave-market supplied.
The prejudices in favor of these practices are very deeply rooted
in the native mind. Even at Loanda they retire out of the city in order
to perform their heathenish rites without the cognizance of the authorities.
Their religion, if such it may be called, is one of dread. Numbers of charms
are employed to avert the evils with which they feel themselves
to be encompassed. Occasionally you meet a man, more cautious or more timid
than the rest, with twenty or thirty charms round his neck. He seems to act
upon the principle of Proclus, in his prayer to all the gods and goddesses:
among so many he surely must have the right one. The disrespect
which Europeans pay to the objects of their fear is to their minds
only an evidence of great folly.
While here, I reproduced the last of my lost papers and maps;
and as there is a post twice a month from Loanda, I had the happiness
to receive a packet of the "Times", and, among other news,
an account of the Russian war up to the terrible charge of the light cavalry.
The intense anxiety I felt to hear more may be imagined by every true patriot;
but I was forced to brood on in silent thought, and utter my poor prayers
for friends who perchance were now no more, until I reached
the other side of the continent.